The Odyssey – Homer (translated by Emily Wilson)

Emily Wilson is the first woman to have published an English translation of Homer’s Odyssey and it is an exquisite piece of work. Before reading it, I had already read several of her twitter threads about the translation process. She discusses some of the challenges she faced during the translati on process and examines the choices that different English translators made in their versions. In these threads, she often brings to light the misogyny that runs through the previous translations by men. I’ve wanted to read this translation since its publication in 2017, so when The Silence of the Girls put me in the mood for some Homer I knew the time had come to re-read this epic tale.

A photo of the paperback edition of Emily Wilson's translation of The Odyssey. The book has a white background, with gold lettering, and an image of three ladies at the top taken from a Minoan fresco painting.

The Odyssey is set after the Trojan War has taken place and follows the Greek soldier Odysseus on his adventurous return home to Ithaca. The Trojan War lasted for ten years. It takes Odysseus another ten to return home to his wife and son. Odysseus angered the god Poseidon, who punishes him by filling his journey with danger and treacherous obstacles. Meanwhile, back in Ithaca, Odysseus’ wife Penelope has had her house overrun with suitors who, believing Odysseus to be dead, are pressuring her to choose one of them as her husband. Penelope faces her own battles as she struggles to keep the suitors at bay and longs for her husband to return.

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Okay, so I’m posting this a little bit late in the game, but better late than never!

In July, the wonderful Jean from BookishThoughts decided to host a Classical Literature Read-Along that would take place in the month of August, as a way to help encourage other people to delve into some classical literature. The plan was to read Homer’s Odyssey in the first two weeks of August, and Ovid’s Metamorpheses in the final two weeks of August.

I read the Odyssey just at the end of last summer and didn’t feel like re-reading it so soon, especially as I’m in the depths of my MA dissertation. I did, however, decide to join in with reading Ovid!

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